BMW Motorrad Spezial

Harley XL 1200 custom

Harley XL 1200 custom
If Harley-Davidson needs any more guidance on how to create Sportster range extensions for the future, this beautifully detailed XL 1200 custom from Nice! Motorcycles should help. Nice! MC (their exclamation mark, not mine) is headquartered 500km west of Tokyo, and a well-known name on the Japanese custom scene. For this new bike—revealed in latest issue of Hotbike magazine—they’ve taken a 2002 Sportster and revolutionized its looks with several well thought out changes. The tank and seat unit are new, along with the wheels, brakes and Gold Wing-spec Dunlop Elite II tires. The side covers are gone and the bike has been lowered, with new shocks at the back; there’s what appears to be a new triple clamp at the front, along with clip-on bars, a bobbed fender and a smaller headlight. The result completely transforms the look of the XL1200, giving it a racier stance and a classic 70s vibe. There’s no word on engine upgrades, other than an air filter—but power junkies can get up to 100hp out of Harley’s 1200 twin-spark lump with the help of specialists such as Zippers Performance. Could this be the kind of Harley that people who don’t like Harleys might buy? [Images via Bike Bros Japan.]

Harley XL 1200 custom
Harley XL 1200 custom

  • I have always been a fan of Sportsters and you are right – this really hits the mark the way customisers have been doing with XS650’s – Sweet!

  • Llamacide

    Looks great. I love the stripped down style. Sportsters never seemed to handle great with the clip ons at the stock fork rake. I wonder if giving this bike adjustable triple clamps to tighten up the rake ( and look) would be a benifit?

  • sushinav

    Looks cool. Doubt it weighs any less, which is the Sporty’s biggest problem.

  • rob

    harley as with most cycle builders should ditch their design staff and hire strictly freelancers, people like Nice! or Deus or the Wrench boys.

  • Man i was goin to buy a 1200 Nightster and settled on a new Monster S2R1000 for around the same price. If Harley were making something – ANYTHING like this there’s be absolutely no argument what i’d be gettin

  • reddysetgogo

    Amazing looking, any idea what kind of helmet he is wearing? I love it.

  • Hell yes.

  • Aaron Burke

    I am seem to have a bias against H-D bikes, but this changes the balance in favour of the Milwaukee muscle. A Sportster that actually looks sporty!
    It looks like a great bike to ride and I reckon that finish on those rims is fantastic too. Credit to the builders for this one.

  • pamberjack

    Yes yes yes yes yes!

    But I fear that my taste is a world away from the HD die-hards; i.e. I’m not so into Bourbon and guns…

    Their main problem is that their fans don’t want new and different. They find themselves in the same basket as Fender et al – they have created a “classic” and it’s become an albatross around their necks.


  • Bryan_ZA

    My word. HDs here in South Africa are strictly the fare of Mid-life crises, the custom scene here is tiny and as such I have never, ever really seen a Harley I’d even consider owning but this is gorgeous!

  • Saying something is 500km west of Tokyo is like saying something is 2400miles west of New York. It’s still the otherside of the country :|

    Anyway I’ve been past them a few times, literally hole in the wall. They’ve always had a lot of nice Harleys parked outside, but as those aren’t my thing, I never bothered to find out more. May drop by next time I’m in the area. There’s also a Brit-bike specialist in that area too. I’ll see if they have something for you.

  • Tinman

    Those wheels are available in the HD parts and accessories catalog, and have been for 35 Yrs. One and a half inch front fork travel might look ok, but it wont work for me. A larger front fender painted flat black would look just as good, and actaully do something. HD could not produce this bike because the Gov dictates the lighting and plate size and location. Add the parts to make it Legal and you have the bike HD makes right now. Choppers are laughed at because they are all but unridable, I submit that this is just as bad, The Stock base Sportster is a much better bike, give it this paint treatment and one of hundreds of custom seat options and your good to go!!

  • WRXr

    Great look, but the straight pipes have got to go. I think this is an area where a lot of customizers cop out. When will somebody realize that the exhaust system is not only useful, but an opportunity to get creative too?

  • very clean, but when i see straight pipes like that all i can think about is the asshole that rides a sportster in his wife beater with ape hangers and wrapped straight pipes and how annoying and uncool it is every time he announces himself to the world! haha

  • Silverwing

    I love what Nice! has done with this, and it seems perfectly rideable to me. I’ve been seeing a lot of these dudes claiming the only “rideable” motorcycles are the ones that come from a factory…yet, I see plenty of people, dedicated motorcycle people, riding thousands of miles on bikes deemed “unrideable” by these ergonomic experts. How can this be? And why aren’t we all riding Silver Wings? I mean really, they are the only practical two wheeled vehicle out there. Am I right? If you want to ride it, can ride, and do ride, than it’s ok with me. But that’s just my opinion. Silva-Wings-4-Eva.

  • jayallen

    I don’t know how else to say it, but this is my favorite Harley ever on Bike EXIF. It’s tasteful, muscle-ly, and not pretentiously stupid and full of imaginary attitude. Nice call pemberjack on the fender comparison

  • BryGuy9

    Ok, I love most of the creations on bikeexif, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know jack about ergonomics.

    But in the last pic, how can the rider be comfortable? I know everyone has their own preference for position. But with Mid-sets on a Sporty, if you are at all long in the inseam you are a bit scrunched up.

    Whatever else you think about the pipes, did anyone else notice that the front pipe lets out almost under the rider’s right boot? Hotfoot!

    Anyway, what if the pipes were changed to allow for some Rear-sets? At least you could stretch out a little bit.

    FWIW, my ride is a Sportster 1200 Custom and I absolutely love it. But I’d take a CB750 from Carpy if I had a financial windfall.

  • Michael Pandzik

    I love Sportsters, always have. This one suffers from “out-of-scale-itis”, with the too-small chopped front fender, peanut tank, and miniature seat assembly. Visually, the huge tires front and rear really really destroy the scale of the piece. Mechanically, nice — visually, pulled from the oven a bit too soon.